Motorists don’t trust sat navs

Despite nearly three quarters (71%) of UK motorists using satellite navigation in their cars, 87% of people do not trust it to get them to the right destination every time.

This is according to new research by innovative addressing firm what3words that found that more than a quarter (27%) of drivers end up in the wrong place when following a sat nav to a traditional postal address.

The what3words survey shows that location accuracy, clunky interfaces and issues around speech recognition are among the main problems reported by sat nav users.

Those who don’t use satellite navigation systems hailed lack of trust (24%), lack of accuracy (14%) and difficulties inputting destinations (13%) as their main reasons.

Despite increasing driver frustration, what3words co-founder and CEO, Chris Sheldrick, said that consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on flawed technology. ‘It’s very easy for us to blame sat nav units or apps,’ said Chris. ‘But that’s not what is at fault – after all, the technology can only be as accurate as the addressing data it has to use.’

With traditional postal addresses, including postcodes, a relatively recent invention, complaints from consumers are not surprising. As population has exploded and towns and cities have grown, the UK’s addressing system has become increasingly unfit for purpose and is no longer working well enough in cars.

Part of the issue is that street names are far from unique. For example, there are 34 Victoria Roads in London alone, and an incredible 632 Juarez streets in Mexico City, meaning that drivers risk selecting the wrong destination. Street addresses are also often long and tricky to enter and take a frustratingly long time to input into car navigation systems.

what3words offers an accurate solution to this problem, by dividing the entire globe into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, each one with its own, unique 3 word address. It is also the only addressing system to be optimised for voice. Speaking 3 word addresses whilst driving is a more convenient and accurate way to reach a destination, avoids issues with ambiguous-sounding addresses, and enables the user to arrive at specific building and event entrances.

Analysis of the data suggests that using a 3 word address eliminates four of the five issues with navigation systems that people claim to have resulted in them driving to the wrong address.